Fullness of Holy Orders...first

If a man is to be raised to the episcopate, but he has not even been ordained a deacon, for example like St. Augustine, would all three ordaining prayers be said over him, or would the episcopal prayer encompass the diaconal and presbyteral ordinations? Or, is there a prayer specifically for this purpose, longer than one individual prayer, but shorter than the three consecutively?

Three separate ordination ceremonies would be held, one each for deacon, priest and bishop, on different days. St. Thomas Becket was a deacon at the time of his appointment to Canterbury. He was ordained a priest on one Sunday, and consecrated a bishop on the next.

What if urgent need required the new bishop to depart immediately, say in a day or two?

According to my notes Saint Augustine was ordained a priest in 390 and became a bishop in 395.

Are you thinking of Saint Ambrose? At the time of being chosen bishop he was a catechumen. He was Baptized, Confirmed, received the Eucharist, and was ordained deacon, priest and bishop all in quick succession.

St. Ambrose must have been who I was really thinking of, thank you.

What if urgent need required the new bishop to depart immediately, say in a day or two?


**It would still take three separate Liturgies–one to bestow each major Order of Deacon, Presbyter, and Bishop.

You can’t do it all at once.

That’s just all there is to it. Period.**

Isn’t there historical precedent in the case of the Apostles for a more comprehensive ordination?

If in a conclave a layman is chosen as the Pope, he would be ordained to the diaconate, then the priesthood and then the episcopate immediately within the same day before his election is announced to the people.

I suspect requiring 3 ordinations is a disciplinary requirement rather than a doctrinal one. Afterall, the episcopacy is the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, wouldn’t it in itself contain all the mission and powers of the priesthood and diaconate?

But I really cannot imagine a situation what circumstances would require the skipping of any one stage? Ordination to the episcopacy is not necessary for salvation, unlike baptism and reconciliation. So I doubt the existing practice will ever need to change.

At the moment, canon law prohibits ordination to the episcopacy of a man with less than 5 years as a priest.

It also prohibits presbyteral ordination without a year as a deacon.

For Roman Rite men, deaconal ordination requies a prior time as installed Acolyte and Lector; for the Eastern churches, most require time as a subdeacon, acolyte, and lector.

It is also to be noted that Canon Law may not be changed by the College of Cardinals during the interregnum…

So at present, only a priest may be elected a bishop.

But remember, canon law may be dispensed from by the competent authority.

And during an interregunum, there is NO competent authority to grant it… at least for the West.

Yes, the Pope may dispense from canon law; in the case of episcopal ordinations, it’s rare outside the persecuted churches. (As was the case with Bl. Theodore Romzha and his ordination of his successors, and is now in China.) The various Patriarchs probably can “get away with” giving such dispensations for within their own church; It’s been within their competence since before reunion, and so the weight of tradition says they can even tho’ the black letter doesn’t. (But the blackletter enables the authority of Tradition.)

Can. 332 §1. The Roman Pontiff obtains full and supreme power in the Church by his acceptance of legitimate election together with episcopal consecration. Therefore, a person elected to the supreme pontificate who is marked with episcopal character obtains this power from the moment of acceptance. If the person elected lacks episcopal character, however, he is to be ordained a bishop immediately.

Which, by both current canon law, and ancient tradition, implies he must already be a priest, since a deacon may not be ordained a Bishop immediately… he has to first be ordained a priest.

No, I think the only absolute criteria for election to the Papacy is to be a baptized male.

St. Ambrose was not even Christian before being named Bishop of Milan.

The current rules are always set by the prior pope. At present, the wording precludes non-priests.

HH Benedict could change that. I SERIOUSLY doubt he would, since that would violate his whole public approach to consistency of governance of the church.

Further, even if the College could in good faith select a non-priest, it’s extremely unlikely any deacon, let alone layman, would garner enough support for election.

It’s more likely the Pope of Alexandria would be elected than any layman. (It would also generate a defacto reunion…)

Yes that is true but my main point is all the other things, the age of ordination, the time spent in the diaconate or subdiaconate and such may be dispensed by the local ordinary (bishop or religious superior).

I agree that presently it is highly unlikely that any non-Cardinal would be elected (I read that it last happened in 1378); and it’s almost as unlikely that any Cardinal would not already be a bishop.

Popes may set norms for the election (as John Paul II did most recently, which Benedict XVI amended slightly). But canon law 1024 requires that a baptized male alone receives ordination validly, so the Pope could not change that rule without changing Canon Law.

You’re assuming that the law for electing the Supreme Pontiff did not derogate from canon law. But neither the law nor tradition specifies that the man elected to be Pope must necessarily be a Priest, and there are ancient examples of deacons being elected as Pope.

Based on your reasoning, any Priest who was ordained to the Priesthood in the last 5 years are automatically barred from being elected as the Supreme Pontiff. However, neither canon law, nor Ordo Ritum Conclavis, nor Universi Dominici Gregis limits the candidates for the Supreme Pontiff to those who have already received the sacred ministry of the Priesthood for more than 5 years. It is therefore reasonable to accept that when the law specifies that the man elected as Pope is to be ordained to the Order of Bishops immediately, the disicipline of observing the waiting periods is automatically derogated where necessary, by virtue of the law itself.

in the case of Canon 1024, that is held to a higher standard; to wit, the infallible definition that only men are valid matter for priestly ordination. No one, Pope or bishop, can dispense from that.

Canon law can be created or dispensed with by the pope. And the pope is above canon law. Literally.The pope is the font of Catholic Canon Law.

The Pope is not, simply, above canon law. Yes, there are allowances for dispensations, changes, etc. But parts of canon law, for instance, are divine laws which the Pope is certainly not above.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.